Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

The ethics of fetal tissue grafting should be considered along with the science

Keith A. Crutchera1

a1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0515.


In addition to the scientific and medical issues surrounding the use of fetal tissue transplants, the ethical implications should be considered. Two major ethical issues are relevant. The first of these is whether this experimental procedure can be justified on the basis of potential benefit to the patient. The second is whether the use of tissue obtained from intentionally aborted fetuses can be justified in the context of historical and existing guidelines for the protection of human subjects. The separation of ethical decisions from medical practice and scientific research is necessary to prevent the exploitation of innocent human life.